Identity To Kill A Mocking Bird Essay

1149 words - 5 pages

Picture this, a nineteen year old white girl blaming an older black man for her father’s actions in a jury of dominantly white people that wish to throw the Negro in a jail cell for eternity. This is one of the strongest contributions that race shapes one’s identity in the book To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee. Adding to race, what about a male African American walking down the street that gets stopped by a police man who suspected him of committing a crime. Now not only is he black, he is a male also. These are only two of the three aspects of how social forces can shape one’s identity. There are several that can shape an identity, three examples being race, culture, and gender.
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Furthermore in the same essence a quote in the book To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee she uses one of the main characters, Boo Radley, to show racism towards blacks. The quote “An next time he won’t aim high be it dog, nigger, or Jem Finch” (54). This quote talks about how Boo assumed that the person in his cabbage field was black and next time he will shoot them, while the crowd around him agreed with the assumption it was a black person. This shows how much racism there was. To sum it all up, these various quotes and evidence leads to prove that race contributes to one’s identity. Another important social force that contributes to one’s identity is culture. One notable example of this is proven in “Don’t misread my signals”, an article written by Judith Ortiz Cofer. In this article Judith talks about how clothing is an important factor of her identity because of her culture. “As teenagers, my friends and I were lectured constantly on how to behave as proper senoritas. But it was a conflicting message we received, since our Puerto Rican mothers also encouraged us to look and act like women by dressing us in clothes our Anglo schoolmates and their mothers found too mature and flashy.” This quote Judith states can be inferred that her own culture shaped her identity. In addition to that, in the same article Judith describes how people stereotyped her by her culture. When Judith dressed up attractively for her first formal dance she grooved around with a mainstream culture man that painfully planted a sloppy, overeager kiss on her mouth. She didn’t respond back to the behavior and this man said, “I thought you Latin girls were supposed to mature early.” This quote delivers the message that this mainstream culture man pre judged Judith by her Latin identity. On top of that, culture shapes one’s identity in the book To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee. In chapter twelve Calpurina, the Finch’s Negro maid, takes Scout and Jem to her church where the two children witness a black church environment. Their culture is a bit diverse from whites, they sing hymns without hymn-books. “Miraculously on pitch, a hundred voices sang out Zeebo’s words”...

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